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WiFi Camera eschews visible spectrum

WiFi Camera eschews visible spectrum

The WiFi Camera uses a series of antennas to build a picture of the world in shades of 2.4GHz - no light required.

A clever camera constructed from WiFi antennas and some custom circuitry is capable of taking snapshots in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

The WiFi Camera - via Make - is the work of Bengt Sjölén, Adam Somlai Fischer, and Usman Haque and is designed to perform the same function as a traditional camera: the taking of images - and, the group claims, soon video as well. However, this camera - as the name suggests - doesn't capture light, but instead takes a peak beyond the visible spectrum into realm of radio waves.

The camera is based around the principle that "radio waves at WiFi's wavelength behave similar to light in that they are reflected off almost all solid objects to varying degrees," meaning that - just like light - it creates a vista, being bounced around, diffracted, and diffused invisibly around us. By strapping a series of WiFi antennas to some custom signal analysis equipment, the WiFi Camera turns the invisible visible: capturing an image of how the view looks in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

While the initial version of the camera was limited to valid WiFi signals only, the team behind it have upgraded the signal analysis equipment and can now capture any 2.4GHz signal - including from mobile 'phones, microwaves, and DECT devices.

While the device is currently nothing more than a curiosity, the technology behind it could have an impact on how we analyse the propogation of wireless signals - and how WiFi signal strength and quality could be improved in the future.

Are you impressed to see photographers looking beyond the visible spectrum for inspiration, or is the WiFi Camera nothing more than an expensive kaleidoscope? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

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proxess 23rd April 2010, 10:36 Quote
Any pictures online taken with this?
sotu1 23rd April 2010, 10:42 Quote
aye, pics or it didn't happen ;)
mi1ez 23rd April 2010, 10:45 Quote
Yep.

http://wificamera.propositions.org.uk/visualization

Great concept, but ultimately, a little disappointing as an artform. let's hope that it finds more uses in tech!
do_it_anyway 23rd April 2010, 10:47 Quote
A bit fat "meh" to those piccies.
alpaca 23rd April 2010, 10:56 Quote
yeah. i was expecting a dark photograph with cellphones, microwaves and the door leading to the computer chamber (where the wireless router is positioned) brightly illuminated...
Joeymac 23rd April 2010, 11:21 Quote
Meh, I was expecting a "Dare Devil" type view of the video. Those pictures look like some one took a guess at what emits 2.4ghz radio waves and represented their views via MS Paint.
ev1lm1nd666 23rd April 2010, 11:36 Quote
Just imagine an aerial view of London/Birmingham etc with this camera, you'd be able to see every wi-fi hot spot in the city, it isn't designed to pick out the routers or mobiles themselves, just the wi-fi signal comming off them so all you're ever gonna see is big blotches of colour...
Picarro 23rd April 2010, 11:42 Quote
They'd be better off using sonar or radarmapping for that..
Dave Lister 23rd April 2010, 12:47 Quote
Apart from making blurry desktop wallpapers it seems a bit useless.
p3n 23rd April 2010, 14:41 Quote
2008? .....
-Xp- 23rd April 2010, 15:48 Quote
I like the fact that there's a laptop mounted on the camera which transmits data via WiFi. Surely tha's going to cause some interference.
Blackie Chan 23rd April 2010, 17:15 Quote
Look like its very low resolution so far. Judging by the pictures.
pimonserry 23rd April 2010, 18:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by -Xp-
I like the fact that there's a laptop mounted on the camera which transmits data via WiFi. Surely tha's going to cause some interference.

You don't think they would have turned that off?

And from the pictures, it appears each antenna was 'viewing' data from different WiFi access points, so I imagine the only interference from the laptop would be when it was showing the specific frequency that the laptop was communicating at (which could be avoided).
TomH 23rd April 2010, 23:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimonserry
Quote:
Originally Posted by -Xp-
I like the fact that there's a laptop mounted on the camera which transmits data via WiFi. Surely tha's going to cause some interference.

You don't think they would have turned that off?

And from the pictures, it appears each antenna was 'viewing' data from different WiFi access points, so I imagine the only interference from the laptop would be when it was showing the specific frequency that the laptop was communicating at (which could be avoided).
Or they just used the 5GHz band?
HourBeforeDawn 24th April 2010, 00:19 Quote
I think its cool and has some great potential in figuring out what is interfering with signal and so on.
Saivert 25th April 2010, 13:54 Quote
they started out being very right in about how radio waves are similar to light, but then they missed the finer details and started with pseudo-science. radio waves are not blobs in the middle of the air like these pictures show.
neither is light. It is scattered about and travels in straight directions. it is not suspended in air.
they are all waves.
that is why there are directional antennas. because radio waves can be concentrated towards a point, just like light can.
cowtc 26th April 2010, 10:33 Quote
if you closely to can see ghosts...
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